The power of the words we use.

I am in a support group for my SAD and at the moment there is are often people coming online saying how terrible the winter is and how they dread the darker days.  Reading these messages I am reminded of a time when I was struggling and the lesson I learnt from it.

I loved my nan dearly and the day she had her stroke my world changed forever.  She survived the stroke but along with weakness down one side she was left with no speech.  Watching the woman I used to have such deep conversations with struggling to find the most basic words broke my heart and I began grieving for the loss of the bright, intelligent woman who had made such an impact on who I am now.  The problem was, she hadn’t died, she was still here and every time I visited I saw her struggling and my heart was broken again each time.  Watching her retreat into herself because she could not communicate was heart wrenching.

One day I was heading home from a visit to the hospital and I became aware that I was repeating to myself “I can’t handle this” as I once again spiraled into panic and deep sorrow.  In that moment it was like a light bulb came on.  Every time I told myself I couldn’t cope I began the downward fall into a pit of darkness.  I realised in that moment that the words I was using were creating the emotions I was feeling and I desperately needed to do something about it.

After that journey I made a point of listening to the words I used about things I was experiencing.  If I felt myself saying “I can’t cope” I would instantly stop myself, even saying “stop!” out loud if necessary, and rephrase my words to “I am coping, all will be well”

From that day I started to cope with the situation with my nan much better.  Yes, my heart was still broken and it didn’t heal until she passed and was free of the limitations the stroke imposed on her, but I was more able to visit her and not end up in such a state of distress.

This taught me that the words we use change our perception of the world around us and our ability to cope with situations.  When we affirm that we cannot cope, we do not cope.  When we state that our lives are terrible that is what we experience.

When you find you are not coping with whatever life has thrown at you take a moment to listen to the words you are using.  Are you convincing yourself things are worse than they are?  Try turning your words around; if you say you are not coping tell yourself you are.  If you are saying you are scared or that something is terrible

tell yourself you are strong and that all will be well.  It takes self awareness, constant vigilance but you don’t actually have to believe what you are saying, oddly in reassuring yourself that all is well you will begin to believe it and feel much better.
In the end, what do you have to lose?

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